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Radiology. 2003 Feb;226(2):417-24.

Renal cell carcinoma: clinical experience and technical success with radio-frequency ablation of 42 tumors.

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Departments of Radiology, White 270, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



To evaluate clinical experience with percutaneous image-guided radio-frequency (RF) ablation of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and to assess factors that may influence technical success.


Thirty-four patients who underwent RF ablation of 42 RCC tumors during a 3.5-year period were evaluated. Overlapping ablations were performed on the basis of tumor size and geometry. Technical success was defined as elimination of areas that enhanced at imaging within the entire tumor. With the exception of those patients with renal insufficiency, who were followed up with unenhanced and gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, patients were followed up with unenhanced and contrast material-enhanced computed tomography. Univariate analysis of the results was performed with the Fisher exact test to assess the effect of tumor size and location on technical success. P <or=.05 was considered to represent a significant difference. Complications and the management and outcomes of the complications were recorded.


All 29 exophytic tumors (mean size, 3.2 cm; size range, 1.1-5.0 cm) were completely ablated, as were two parenchymal tumors. The remaining 11 tumors had a component in the renal sinus. For large (>3.0 cm) tumors, presence of a tumor component in the renal sinus was a significant negative predictor of technical success (P =.004); only five of these 11 tumors were completely treated, compared with 11 of 11 tumors without a renal sinus component. A similar analysis was not possible for small tumors because no small tumors involved the renal sinus. Four complications occurred in a total of 54 ablation sessions: one minor hemorrhage, two major hemorrhages, and one ureteral stricture.


RF ablation of RCC can be successful in exophytic RCC tumors up to 5.0 cm in size. Tumors larger than 3.0 cm with a component in the renal sinus are more difficult to treat but can be ablated successfully.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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